The Care and Feeding of INFPs, part 1
Give your INFP some alone time
INFPs need time to reset. We have this mental/emotional bookshelf where a book is an emotion or mindset. The acts of everyday living—going to work, interacting with people, striving towards goals, maintaining our lives—requires pulling a book off the bookshelf to access what we need to live in the day-to-day.
As we use those books, they pile up and as more things happen day after day, going through the piles to find the books we need takes longer and longer. Eventually, we have to take some alone time and put those books in our mental piles back onto the bookshelf. That’s what I mean by resetting.
Alone time doesn’t actually mean being hidden away from everybody. It means being away from those that requires us to pull stuff off the shelf which is usually people we care about. INFPs are being perfectly capable of being alone with people around, just not with people we know.
1. Lack of focus. INFPs are somewhat distracted anyway, but when we need time to reset, we can’t seem to concentrate on anything for any given length of time.
2. Irritability. We get short-tempered because when we don’t reset, everything becomes just another problem that needs a book from our shelf in order for us to solve it. And we can’t find that book because it’s in a pile somewhere.
3. Lack of communication. When we start answering emotionally complicated questions with single syllables, it’s time to leave us alone.
Basically, you need to create an environment where your INFP is only responsible for themselves. A loved one in the picture doesn’t work because if you’re around and the INFP cares for you then they’ll start thinking about how you’re feeling and how you’ll be reacting to their need to reset.
My wife is an INTJ and their reasons for alone time and symptoms are different than INFPs, but the treatment is the same. Usually, I take the kids to visit my parents for the entire day (6 or more hours). Or I send her out to the bookstore, coffee shop, shopping, etc. With kids, the INFP can’t be in the same proximity. It doesn’t work because with kids that close, you’re always a parent.
If you don’t have kids, go do something fun so your INFP doesn’t have to worry about you. Try to avoid doing anything that involves repeated vomiting which would require the INFP to hold your head at some later time. Also, avoid anything that requires the INFP to bail you out of jail. Just a tip.